Hilton's New Luxury Brand Is a Ghost of Blackstone's Past
(Bloomberg) -- Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is getting ready to start a new luxury brand, and its name is one recycled from the past.
Hilton hasn’t formally announced the new brand yet, but provided a hint in a July 31 press release heralding the addition of three new high-end hotels in Dubai. One of the properties is a former St. Regis now known as the Habtoor Palace Hotel. The property will belong to LXR Hotels & Resorts, an “upcoming luxury collection brand from Hilton,” according to the statement.
The LXR name will probably be obscure to hotel guests, but may ring a bell for students of private equity investments in the hospitality industry. Back in 2005, Blackstone Group LP launched LXR Luxury Resorts, using the brand to reposition 14 high-end hotels the firm acquired when it bought out Wyndham International Inc.
After Blackstone acquired Hilton in 2007, many LXR properties were reflagged under Hilton brands, including El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico and Casa Marina Key West, which became Waldorf Astoria resorts. Blackstone took Hilton public in 2013, and sold its remaining stake in the company earlier this year.
A Hilton spokesman confirmed that the company expects to launch LXR later this year.
Chief Executive Officer Chris Nassetta has touted the company’s plans to add brands in 2018, including a “hostel on steroids,” and a new brand that is slightly more upscale than the Hilton flagship. LXR appears to be a soft brand, meaning that the properties would maintain their individual identities while enjoying the services of a major hotel company.
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